Frequently Asked Questions
Below are a series of commonly asked questions about the bid. Click on any question to show the response. We've tried to cover as much as we can think of but of course if there anything else not covered here you want to know please use our contact page to get in touch and we’ll be happy to come back to you.
As we move forward we will keep this page updated.
Your £12 per month as a basic member will see £10 set aside to fund the share purchase and £2 in a separate pot to be spent on club-related projects as voted on by the members.
The £10 per month was initially used to pay the previous directors for their shares. The final instalment of that was made in the summer of 2018 meaning members' contributions now go towards building up a pot of money to buy out Gordon over the long term.
The £2 gives the trust an ongoing income to be spent on club-related projects as the members decide. Since summer 2016 we have been spending its contents every three months and the £2 pot has been described by the head of Supporters Direct Scotland as 'brilliant' and the first of its kind in Scotland.
So far our members' money has helped fund the wheelchair platform in the main stand of the stadium (giving the club disabled facilities described as among the best in Scotland), a community season ticket scheme giving free tickets to local groups who may not normally afford a day at the football, and a boost to the club wage budget during the epic run-in to the 2016/17 season when our Championship status was in real danger.
We said from the start 1,000 members was the trigger for the deal to happen as that was the number we needed to make the deal not just viable but robust. The deal could maybe have been done with less, but we were only willing to do it if we felt St Mirren fans had shown sufficient appetite to back it, and we are pleased to say that happened.
Essentially, 1,000+ members means we have a substantial safety net built in. Although we hope it doesn’t happen, our cashflow forecasts were designed in a way where we could have a drop in member numbers and still meet our commitments. However we do need members to stay the course to make sure we can save up the money we need to achieve the long-term goal of majority fan ownership.
It's also important to stress there is no maximum number of members - the more we get the better. The more money we have coming in the quicker we can pay off what we owe and save up the money to buy out Gordon, the greater the pool of talent we have to draw on, and the more ability we have to invest in the club and community along the way.
Gordon is a lifelong St Mirren fan who has been a success in business, is financially secure for life, and has now chosen to devote his time to this. He wants to make the club successful, get it into a healthy position and hand control to the fans to safeguard forever.
Crucially, Gordon is the only person who has brought the money needed to the table. Given the £1m asking price from the previous board, SMISA couldn’t have done this on our own.
And in a sense, this is costing him - he sold property that was making him a significant return to invest in something he will make no profit from. It is also worth pointing out our agreement to buy Gordon’s shares does not include the 8% he owned before summer 2016 – we are only bound to buy the 42% he bought as part of this deal.
Like us he believes the most important thing is that St Mirren stays healthy and at the heart of the community. So he wants to run it on a break-even basis – the club’s income will fund its expenditure, and we won’t spend what we don’t have.
Gordon and the board will work with the local community and businesses to boost the club's commercial operation, create new income streams, and bring in new fans - if they successfully boost the turnover of the club they can spend extra money when it matters most, on the park.
Like us, he wants to see St Mirren financially secure, back in the top league and challenging for trophies. His aim is to achieve that, make sure the club is stable, then pass it into the hands of the fans.
FAN OWNERSHIP AND THE LONG TERM
The day-to-day running of the club will be by the board, which will be chaired by Gordon. He will invite others on to the board who he feels are capable of helping him take the club forward.
The current make-up of the board is Gordon, club chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick, club secretary Chris Stewart, financial advisor and former St Mirren Fans' Council chair Alan Wardrop and former SMISA director David Nicol, who played a key role in the inital buyout and was elected by our members in November 2016 to serve as their representative for two years. Gordon then asked David to remain on the board in a personal capacity.
They are joined by SMISA's David Riley who was elected by members for two years in December 2018.
That means for the first time the fans have a director elected by and accountable to them – someone who can represent the views of the fans in the decision-making heart of the club.
However, while the SMISA director will be able to raise issues on behalf of the members, ultimately SMISA will not control club decisions - the club will continue to run club affairs, as has always been the case.
Remember, the fans owning the club and the fans running the club are not the same thing. For example Barcelona is owned by the fans but they elect a president, who then appoints a board to make the decisions.
Our expectation is that a fan-owned St Mirren will see SMISA appoint a board of people qualified to run the club, and - through our majority shareholding - retain the power to change them if we weren’t happy.
But the beauty of this model is we have years to work out the detailed structure and make a smooth transition to fan ownership, which Gordon will help us do. In that time we will have a fan on the board and can gain experience of how the club is run – so that when the time comes we as a support will be ready to be owners.
Obviously the club’s income will fund its spending. For years St Mirren has been run on a break-even basis and under Gordon it will continue to be so. The club won’t depend on SMISA to pay the bills – any money we put in will be a bonus, to be spent as the members decide.
There has been the odd occasion in the past where the previous board made interest-free loans to help the club get through cashflow difficulties. This current set-up is structured in a way where Gordon and/or SMISA will be able to do the same if required. We have made available a £50,000 rolling credit fund which the club can dip into should it run into trouble.
MEMBERSHIP AND PAYMENT
SMiSA is the St. Mirren Independent Supporters Association. We have been in operation since 2002 and in that time have raised thousands of pounds for the club. Legally we are structured as a community benefits society. The trust is led by a committee, which is elected by the members at our AGM each year. Trust business is conducted on a one member, one vote basis and will continue to be as we go forward.
Prior to summer 2016, SMISA had around 200 members paying varying amounts, the vast majority of whom agreed to sign up for a #BuyTheBuds package of £12 per month or more.If you are one of the few historic members still on an old package we would love you to consider upgrading to one of the new ones and making sure you can fully play your part in the future of the trust and the club. Please email [email protected] for more information on how to do so.
We can send out standing order forms which need to be filled in and returned to us. If you contact us with their details we can send this out to them.
Yes we are happy to do this. We can set up multiple payments from your account, one for you and one for each child you wish to pay for. Please contact us and we can arrange to set this up for you. Be aware that under our constitution under-16s will not be able to vote on trust business, but once they turn 16 they will be eligible to vote.
We currently use GoCardless for payments in the Eurozone and Sweden and PayPal for everywhere else. Please see our international signup page for more details.
Not as an individual you wouldn’t. As an individual, you would only be a shareholder if you currently own shares in St Mirren. But remember the trust now owns 29% of SMFC and our members can help decide what SMISA does with that shareholding. We can also send representatives to the club AGM to vote on SMISA’s behalf.
It is also worth pointing out those signing up to the premium package are due to receive 10 ordinary shares in the club, which would make you a shareholder in SMFC for life if you aren’t already.
You’re free to cancel at any time. You can re-join at any point and in doing so you would resume your rights as a member of SMiSA.
We wanted to set membership at a manageable monthly amount. As its stands you can help secure your club’s future for the cost of a pint a week. But this deal can only work if we get the financial backing of the support. We did have to set a minimum amount and are afraid we are unable to accept any new members for less than that.
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